Twitter isn't just of the moment. It's also a window into history -- recent history, anyway.
But with 200 million active monthly users populating the service and 1 billion tweets streaming out into the world every 2.5 days, even a few years' worth of history is a lot to keep track of.
To help all of us get a better grip on what we've tweeted (and retweeted) into the public consciousness, Twitter today said that it is introducing the ability to download all of that material into a personal Twitter archive, all the way back to tweet No. 1. Once the archive is in your hands, you can view tweets by month or do searches on words, phrases, hashtags or @usernames.
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The archive feature won't be available to everyone, everywhere, right away.
"We're rolling out this feature slowly, starting today with a small percentage of users whose language is set to English," Mollie Vandor, of Twitter's user services engineering team, said in a blog post. "Over the coming weeks and months, we'll make it available to all users around the world, for all the languages we offer."
Some Twitter users had reported seeing the new archive feature as early as last weekend.
The start of the rollout in these waning days of December means that Twitter has been at least partially true to a promise made by CEO Dick Costolo in September, when he said that the download feature is "a priority we absolutely want to have out by the end of the year."
To see if the feature is available to you, go to Settings and look for the option to request your Twitter archive. If it's there, click the button, and Twitter will send you an e-mail telling you how to access your archive when it's ready for you to download. For what it's worth, the archive isn't yet available on my personal Twitter account, nor has it appeared for our @CNETNews feed.